How do clients pay you?
Thread poster: Ivan Miller

Ivan Miller
Mexico
Local time: 01:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 21

Hi translators,

I know that many translators have their payment delayed for weeks or months, even by companies with a good reputation online.

On Upwork, you should only accept a payment once a client has funded a milestone, but proz doesn't have an escrow service.

I know one can create an account on escrow.com, but I don't know if that's something clients tend to use to pay translators.

How do your clients pay you? Do you use an escrow service?
... See more
Hi translators,

I know that many translators have their payment delayed for weeks or months, even by companies with a good reputation online.

On Upwork, you should only accept a payment once a client has funded a milestone, but proz doesn't have an escrow service.

I know one can create an account on escrow.com, but I don't know if that's something clients tend to use to pay translators.

How do your clients pay you? Do you use an escrow service? If so, which one?
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Ivan Jan 21

Ivan Miller wrote:
How do your clients pay you?


The client and I agree on the terms of the job, I complete the job, I send then an invoice, and after a while they pay me. Sometimes they don't pay me, and that is unfortunate. Most clients do pay. I have received payment by SWIFT, IBAN, PayPal, Skrill, Transferwise, SmartCat, and Western Union. Most of the payments that I receive are via SWIFT, IBAN and PayPal. I have heard of translators who require payment in advance, and I have had clients offer to pay me before I deliver the job, but my experience is that payment usually follows delivery, and there is no escrow.

Outside of portals like Upwork, I doubt if milestone-based work with escrow-based payment is at all common. In Upwork, you and the client rely on Upwork to facilitate project management and stepped payment. In the wild, you and the client have direct contact with each other and you get paid in the same way as you'd get paid in the real world -- by agreeing on the price beforehand, getting the client to confirm that he wants you to go ahead with the job, doing you the job, you sending an invoice to the client (sometimes this step is optional), and him sending you the money more or less directly.


[Edited at 2020-01-21 17:59 GMT]


Jean Dimitriadis
Dan Lucas
Laura Kingdon
John Fossey
Edwin den Boer
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
As agreed Jan 21

Ivan, you specialize in marketing/biz and should know how to target the audience and negotiate favorable terms, managing the risks.

Unlike goods, after the delivery the price of a service is greatly reduced, so why should they pay you so much, if any? Do you homework)


As for me, I work with direct clients only, so they pay me lavishly (1) in advance, (2) by installments, (3) or within three working days. One of my direct clients used to escrow the payment
... See more
Ivan, you specialize in marketing/biz and should know how to target the audience and negotiate favorable terms, managing the risks.

Unlike goods, after the delivery the price of a service is greatly reduced, so why should they pay you so much, if any? Do you homework)


As for me, I work with direct clients only, so they pay me lavishly (1) in advance, (2) by installments, (3) or within three working days. One of my direct clients used to escrow the payment to check and benchmark several interim projects, but when the team proved they were worthy, he paid installments after certain project phases/results.
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Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 08:17
Member (2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
Payments Jan 21

Hi

My clients make payments through banking transfers and PayPal.
Generally speaking, translation agencies have paying date.


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Member
English to French
+ ...
OT (Extended metaphor) Jan 21

Laurent Mercky wrote:

Hi

My clients make payments through banking transfers and PayPal.
Generally speaking, translation agencies have paying date.


A few days after delivery, I go out on a paying date with my clients. So far, it’s they who pay… Haven’t tried to tip the scale or stand me up

[Edited at 2020-01-21 19:04 GMT]


Sasha Terehov
 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:17
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Try this Jan 22

Negotiate terms and accept job.
Complete job.
Send invoice.
Receive payment as per negotiated agreement.


Sheila Wilson
Vladimir Pochinov
Teresa Borges
ahartje
Christine Andersen
 

Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 08:17
Member (2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
LOL Jan 22

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

Laurent Mercky wrote:

Hi

My clients make payments through banking transfers and PayPal.
Generally speaking, translation agencies have paying date.


A few days after delivery, I go out on a paying date with my clients. So far, it’s they who pay… Haven’t tried to tip the scale or stand me up

[Edited at 2020-01-21 19:04 GMT]


they would never pay for seeing me
paying date LOL
nevermind


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Exactly this Jan 22

Michele Fauble wrote:
Negotiate terms and accept job.
Complete job.
Send invoice.
Receive payment as per negotiated agreement.

At the start of your career you may not be able to afford to be too choosy. You may just feel the need to accept the client's terms. You may decide to keep working with a client even though they need to be reminded to pay month after month. But these should be business decisions, taken after researching the client fully to find out whether they're just slow and a little unreliable, or whether they're either downright scammers or possibly in danger of going bankrupt and taking your fees with them.

Freelancers who have recurring problems with non-payers (rather than late payers) simply aren't looking after their own interests by performing due diligence. Most clients are totally prepared to pay, and they know that the right of payment for labour is something that courts all over the world are quick to uphold. We all have our stories to tell. I've successfully sued one client and I've prepared but not had to submit two other court claims (the PDF of the prepared papers, sent to the client, did the job each time). I've never been scammed (touching wood ) although in 20 years I have lost out in two client bankruptcies and I once voluntarily wrote off €12.50. Oh, and my cients have come from over 30 countries, including India, China and several countries of the Middle East.

I believe ProZ.com have set up an escrow system if that's what you want. It's called ProZ.Pay. Personally, I value the direct, personal relationship I have with my clients. I would never want to introduce (and pay for!) an intermediary just for payment purposes, although I can see that it might be useful for beginners -- one less thing to worry about. Upwork sounds like a terrible place to be, IMO. You're relegated to the role of a pieceworker, battling for each and every text rather than establishing long-term partnerships with clients. I would hate to see ProZ.com become like that.


Josephine Cassar
Sasha Terehov
Christine Andersen
Michele Fauble
Edwin den Boer
 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:17
Member
English to Russian
+ ...
@Sheila Wilson -- Lucky you! I voluntarily wrote off $27.00 (!) in the late 2000s Jan 22

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I've never been scammed (touching wood ) although in 20 years I have lost out in two client bankruptcies and I once voluntarily wrote off €12.50. Oh, and my clients have come from over 30 countries, including India, China and several countries of the Middle East.


My own version of the above:

"I've never been scammed (touching wood ) ... and have never lost my fees due to client bankruptcies ... although in 21 years I once voluntarily wrote off $27.00 (back in the late 2000s Russian residents could not receive funds via PayPal, although they could use it for outgoing payments.) Oh, and my clients have come from over 15 countries, including ... China."

By the way, one of my all-time favorite clients was a Chinese agency I worked for in 2006-2013. I had to drop them when I opted for an in-house legal translator role with a major international law firm (it was an invaluable experience, by the way -- translating about 2,500-4,000 words every day to support multi-million and multi-billion arbitrations, litigations and M&A deals.)

Upwork sounds like a terrible place to be, IMO. You're relegated to the role of a pieceworker, battling for each and every text rather than establishing long-term partnerships with clients. I would hate to see ProZ.com become like that.


Some entrepreneurial boys and girls employ business models that are entirely different from the Upwork's model, e.g. https://www.toptal.com/ and https://codeable.io/pricing/

3% of applicants pass the TopTal's multi-stage onboarding exercise, while Codeable operates as an exclusive membership club (~500 members).

They are web designers, web developers, and app developers targeting high-end clients with critical projects. However, these models can work for translators (and interpreters) just as well.


Sasha Terehov
Edwin den Boer
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
We're both running successful small businesses, Vladimir Jan 22

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:
Some entrepreneurial boys and girls employ business models that are entirely different from the Upwork's model, e.g. https://www.toptal.com/ and https://codeable.io/pricing/

3% of applicants pass the TopTal's multi-stage onboarding exercise, while Codeable operates as an exclusive membership club (~500 members).

They are web designers, web developers, and app developers targeting high-end clients with critical projects. However, these models can work for translators (and interpreters) just as well.

Thanks for the links. I really like the sound of TopTal.

I'm sure there are very many freelance translators out there who, like the two of us, have never had major problems getting paid. I can't say I've often accepted work from China, as mostly their budget is ridiculously far from my rate, but I have had at least two clients there I can think of in the last few years. Both paid on time, one being occasional (and hopefully ongoing) while the other was a regular while they were developing their product.


 


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